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Faculty – Melinda Takeuchi


Research Areas

  • Early Modern Japanese painting
  • Warrior culture
  • Ukiyoe (especially actors and shini-e)
  • Horses in Japanese art

Work in Progress:

  • Editing volume of symposium essays on pictorial obituaries (shini-e) for Hotei Press, Amsterdam. Contributors include Lawrence Kominz (Portland State), Thomas Blenman Hare (Princeton), Duncan Williams (U.C. Berkeley), Allen Hockley (Dartmouth), and Suzanne Formanek (East Asian Institute, University of Vienna)
  • Uma: The Horse Culture of Japan. Investigation of the cultural role played by horse tomb figures (haniwa), dedicatory "horse substitution plaques" (ema), horse-headed deities (Batô Kannon), and images of horses in stables (umayazu).


  • Ph.D., History of Art, 1979, University of Michigan
  • Research Fellow, Waseda University, Tokyo, 1975-76
  • M.A. (with Honors), History of Art, 1972, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • B.A., Asian Studies, 1966, University of California, Santa Barbara

Selected Publications


  • Editor, The Artist As Professional in Japan including “Introduction” and essay "Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Tosa Mitsunobu (1434-ca.1523) and the Afterlife of a Name." Contributors include Donald McCallum, Karen Brock, Louise Cort, Julie Davis, Christine Guth, and Jonathan Reynolds. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004
  • Worlds Seen and Imagined: Japanese Screens from the Idemitsu Museum of Arts. Co-authored with Kuroda Taizô and Yamane Yûzô New York: Asia Society, 1995. Essay, “The Golden Link: Place, Poetry, and Paradise in a Medieval Japanese Design,” pp. 30-53
  • Taiga's True Views: The Language of Landscape Painting in Eighteenth Century Japan. Stanford University Press: 1992

Articles (Invited or Juried):

  • “Ephemera for Insiders,” Impressions (The Journal of the Japanese Art Society of America) 29 (2007-2008): 165-74
  • Shini-e (Memorial Pictures” for The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints, ed. Amy Reigle Newland. Amsterdam; Hotei Publishing, 2006: 233-235
  • “Making Mountains: Mini-Fujis, Edo Popular Religion, and Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.” Impressions, no. 24 (2002): pp. 24-45.
  • “City, Country, Travel, and Vision in Edo Cultural Landscapes,” in Robert T. Singer, ed., Edo: Art in Japan 1615-1868. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1998: 260-281.
  • “Eshimei no kenryoku: Edo jidai ni okeru Tosa Mitsunobu no na no ikô” [The Power of the Name: Tosa Mitsunobu and his Edo-period Afterlife], solicited for Proceedings of the Symposium on Religion and Literature at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, 1998
  • "Privileging the Visual, or, Slide Showing without Tears: A Practicum for Integrating Art History into Japanese Cultural Studies,"
      – Part I: Oboegaki, vol. 3, no. 1 (March 1993): pp. 5-7;
      – Part II: Oboegaki, vol. 3, no. 2 (Autumn [sic] 1993): pp. 6-29
  • "Individualism in Perpetuity: The Case of the Taigadô Lineage," Fenway Court (Published by the Trustees of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, 1992): pp. 85-103
  • "The Site-Specific Scenes of Bunjin Painters," (in Japanese), Taiga to Ôkyo, vol. 19 of Nihon bijutsu zenshû. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993, pp. 168-173. (Typewritten English manuscript 22 pp.)
  • "Literati Painting Studies," in Maribeth Graybill, ed., International Conference on Japanese Art History: The State of the Field, Berkeley: University of California, Institute of East Asian Studies, 1989: 10-13
  • "'True’ Views: Taiga’s Shinkeizu and the Evolution of Literati Painting Theory in Japan," Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 48, no. 1 (February 1989): 3-26
  • "Kuniyoshi's 'Minamoto Raikô and the Earth Spider': Demons and Protest in Late Tokugawa Japan," Ars Orientalis, vol. xvii (1899): 5-38
  • "Tradition, Innovation, and 'Realism' in a Pair of Eighteenth Century Japanese Landscape Screens," Bulletin of the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art, vol. vi, no. 1 (Spring 1984): 34-66
  • "Ike Taiga: A Biographical Study," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, vol. 43, no. 1 (June 1983): 141-186
  • Japanese Poem-Paintings, London: Shirley Day, 1977. This was translated into Polish and included in the volume Estetyka japonska. Slowa i obrazy. Antologia vol. II ed. Krystyka Wilkoszewska (Crakow: Universitas Publishing, 2005)
  • "The Native Style: Japanese Kana Calligraphy," in Calligraphy of China and Japan: The Grand Tradition, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Museum of Art, 1975: 24-30

Other (Including Entries in Catalogues, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries):

  • Introduction, "Lawrence Ellison as a Collector," and assistance on entries for catalogue of Ellison's Japanese art (privately published, 1999)
  • Contributed essays "Utamaro's Women" (pp. 98-99) and "Larger than Life: Paintings of Pleasure" (pp. 100-101) to Christie's Magazine, October, 1998.
  • Essay "World of Desire" (pp. 12-15) and entries on anonymous genre paintings, plus works by Moronobu, Matabei, the Kaigetsudo artists, Utamaro, and Terunobu, for Christie's New York: An Important Collection of Japanese Ukiyo-e Paintings, Tuesday 27 October 1998.
  • 38 entries for Edo: Art in Japan 1615-1868, (1998) (see above under "Articles")
  • Contributed catalogue entries to Stanford Museum Centennial Handbook One Hundred Years, One Hundred Works of Art (Stanford University, 1991)
  • Essay "Nanga—Taiga and His Followers" (pp. 108-110) and Entries 26, 27, 29-31, 33-43, 47 and 48 (total 14) in A Myriad of Autumn Leaves: Japanese Art from the Kurt and Millie Gitter Collection, New Orleans: New Orleans Museum of Art, 1983
  • Entries, pp. 90-97, One Thousand Years of Art in Japan, London: Colnaghi Oriental, 1981
  • "Ike Taiga," "Ikeno Gyokuran," and "Otagaki Rengetsu," in the Encyclopedia of Japan, 8 vol., Tokyo: Kodansha, 1983
  • Entries on 11 prints by Utamaro and Hiroshige (nos. 81-85, 92-94, and no. 111-112) in Mainichi Shimbun, ed., Zaigai Nihon no shihô, vol. 7, Tokyo: Mainichi Shimbun, 1980
  • Essay "Artists of Edo: Shiba Kôkan, 1947-1818" and 6 entries (nos. 67-72) in Cal French, Through Closed Doors: Western Influence on Japanese Art 1739-1853, Rochester, Mi.: Meadow Brook Art Gallery, 1978


  • JAPANGEN 92 Traditional East Asian Civilization: Japan
  • JAPANGEN 186 Theme and Style in Japanese Art
  • JAPANGEN 287A History, Aesthetics and Politics of Japanese Tea Ceremony
  • JAPANGEN 187 Arts of War and Peace: Late Medieval and Early Modern Japan, 1500-1868
  • Ideas and Forms in Asian Art
  • The Horse in Art from the Parthenon to Buffalo Bill
  • Aristocrats, Warriors, Sex Workers, and Barbarians: Lived Life in Early Modern Japanese Painting
  • Chinese and Japanese Painting Theory
  • The Sense of Place in Japanese Art and Culture
  • Images of the Floating World
  • The Japanese Tea Ceremony: History, Aesthetics and Politics Behind a National Pastime

Professional Activities

Panels, Symposia, and Scholarly Lectures

  • 2005 – Annual Murphy Lecturer, U. of Kansas: “The Apotheosis of Danjûrô VIII: Piety or Parody?” Given also as keynote lecture, University of Southern Illinois, 2007
  • Organized symposium “The Final Bow: Kabuki Actors in Life, Death, and Beyond,” Stanford University
  • 2004 – “Taiga’s New Views: Recent Research,” at the Asia Society, New York
  • 2003 – Keynote speaker, Toshiba Symposium on Zen, DePauw University. “’Zen’ Brush, ‘Zen’Ink: Context, Contradiction, and Controversy in Zen Visual Culture”
  • 2001 – “Making Mountains: Mini-Fujis and Cultic Practice in Edo Japan,” British Museum Symposium in conjunction with exhibition “100 Views of Mount Fuji.” Given also at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, 2002 and at Dartmouth College, 2003
  • 2000 – “Reality, Lies, and Chicken Feathers: Artifice and Nature in Jakuchû’s Poultry Paintings,” at symposium “Jakuchû and His Times,” Kyoto National Museum. Given also at U.C. Davis Avian Science Day, 2001, and as Keynote Talk, Pacific Egg and Poultry Association annual professional meeting. At Harvard’s Reichauer Institute January 2006
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